The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Casablanca (1942) is the star-crossed lovers Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), whose passion couldn’t overcome the war that tore them apart.
The thing most people say are the quotes. You would think Casablanca, this week’s Summer Classic at the Kentucky Theatre, was a 1980s teen comedy for all it’s great lines that get repeated on an almost daily basis from media to private conversations.
“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”
“We’ll always have Paris.”
“… it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”
“Oh, please, monsieur. It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient.”
“I stick my neck out for nobody!”
“Mostly I remember the last one. The wow finish. A guy standing on a station platform in the rain with a comical look in his face because his insides have been kicked out.”
“Round up the usual suspects.”
“Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
And, of course, there’s “Play it again, Sam,” a line that was never actually spoken in the movie, though it is often attributed to it, thanks in part to Woody Allen’s 1969 Broadway play and 1972 movie of that name, in which he is a recently divorced man who gets advice about how to treat women from Rick.
The line, “Play it, Sam,” comes from Ilsa, when she arrives at Rick’s Café Américain, sees Rick’s friend and pianist Sam (Dooley Wilson) and asks him to play her and Rick’s song, As Time Goes By, which has the memorable opening line, “You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh … ”
The other memorable exchange over As Time Goes By is between Sam and Rick, who asks the pianist to play it after longstanding orders not to.
“You played it for her, you can play it for me!”
“…Well, I don’t think I can remember…”
“If she can stand it, I can! Play it!”
Woody Allen was far from the only man looking to Rick for guidance in cool and romance, and Bogie owes a lot to the screenwriters for that status with lines like, “Go ahead and shoot. You’ll be doing me a favor,” and arguably Casablanca‘s most enduring classic, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
Saturday Night Live had a bit of fun with Rick’s cool this season in a skit with guest host J.K. Simmons and cast member Kate McKinnon playing the airport scene where Rick talks Ilsa into getting on the plane with Victor Laslo. In one line, he tells her that if she stayed, “Nine chances out of ten, we’d both wind up in a concentration camp.” On SNL, Ilsa recoils, “Concentration camp? Ewwwww,” and starts trying to wriggle away and high-tail out of there while Rick continues his noble speech.
Such is the enduring appeal of this 73-year-old classic, that a show focused on the pop culture of today considers it relevant. And in part, it has to do with all those quotes that keep popping up.
At one point is the Belmont Stakes telecast Saturday, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas invoked Captain Renault’s classic exclamation, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”
It will be no shock if Casablanca once again draws a full house for Summer Classics.
- Casablanca shows at 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. June 10 at the Kentucky Theatre.